Graduating Students Exhibit Innovation in Industrial Design
Innovation was the word on everyone's lips as the University's graduating Industrial Design students presented their work to industry representatives on Wednesday, November 21.
At the beautiful Newcastle Museum Link Gallery, students and staff joined with important figures from the region's business community for the NEWcastle Products exhibition. The exhibition showcases the designs of final-year students in the Bachelor of Industrial Design program.
Nineteen budding industrial designers showed off a wide-reaching range of products at the industry evening.
They included: a watch for the visually impaired; a coffee percolator that makes aroma visible; new and improved ski boots; a folding skateboard; an effortless jar opener suitable for people with arthritis; a wireless payment system for not-for-profit and charity groups; a super hygienic toilet brush; and much more.
One such designer was graduating student David Powers who opened the event.
Emphasising the importance of student showcases like NEWcastle Products, David spoke about the lack of general awareness surrounding his field.
"Industrial design is still something that people don't fully understand," David explained.
"It's hard to put in a nutshell what we do - that's a shame because we really are passionate about it.
"One minute you're looking for inspiration - and literally, a heartbeat later, you have developed something material. In fourteen weeks we took a sketch on a piece of paper and turned it into a product."
Also addressing the crowd was fellow graduating student Ray Wills.
The gracious student thanked everyone in attendance for acknowledging the extraordinary amount of hard work students in the Industrial Design program put in.
On behalf of all students, Ray extended "a most heartfelt thanks" to both TAFE and University staff, particularly "our educational chaperone" Wyn Jones.
Ray said Newcastle's Industrial Design degree - which incorporates both TAFE and University study - offered the perfect balance between manufacturing, functionality, cost and aesthetics.
"That balance just isn't available in other university programs," Ray said.
"The job of an industrial designer is to solve problems and to answer questions, but the real gift of industrial design is to ask questions.
"There is nothing stopping us from coming up with fantastic answers."
Reaffirming the night's buzzword was Neville Sawyer, co-founder of leading international electrical supplier The Ampcontrol Group.
Mr Sawyer delivered a passionate talk about the importance of innovation.
"Innovation can be the driver of any good business to be successful in the region or in Australia," he said.
"Innovation and industrial design are something that are just so intertwined, and that is just so important."
With innovation a key area of focus for many big local organisations such as the University and Council, Mr Sawyer said industrial designers could look forward to a very bright future.